IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/iepoli/v55y2021ics0167624520301451.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

International connectivity and the digital divide in Sub-Saharan Africa

Author

Listed:
  • Cariolle, Joël

Abstract

In recent decades, international connectivity has improved significantly with the worldwide deployment of some 400 fiber submarine cables (SMCs), transmitting more than 99% of international telecommunications. If sub-Saharan African (SSA) has long remained excluded from this interconnection process, the maritime infrastructure network has recently densified and spurred an African connectivity catch-up. This paper estimates the impact of SMC deployment on the digital divide in a sample of 45 SSA countries covering the period of 1990–2014. Difference in differences (DID) estimations are conducted and highlight the particular contribution of SEACOM and EASSy cables, laid in 2009–2010, to Internet penetration in Eastern and Southern Africa. According to DID estimates, the rollout of these SMCs has yielded a 3–5 percentage point increase in Internet penetration rates in this region compared to the rest of SSA. This is a remarkable advancement, since this variation corresponds approximately to the level of Internet penetration in the subcontinent prior to their arrival.

Suggested Citation

  • Cariolle, Joël, 2021. "International connectivity and the digital divide in Sub-Saharan Africa," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 55(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:iepoli:v:55:y:2021:i:c:s0167624520301451
    DOI: 10.1016/j.infoecopol.2020.100901
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167624520301451
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.1016/j.infoecopol.2020.100901?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Menzie D. Chinn & Robert W. Fairlie, 2007. "The determinants of the global digital divide: a cross-country analysis of computer and internet penetration," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 59(1), pages 16-44, January.
    2. Jacques Crémer & Patrick Rey & Jean Tirole, 2000. "Connectivity in the Commercial Internet," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(4), pages 433-472, December.
    3. Anders Akerman & Ingvil Gaarder & Magne Mogstad, 2015. "The Skill Complementarity of Broadband Internet," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 130(4), pages 1781-1824.
    4. Asongu, Simplice A. & Nwachukwu, Jacinta C., 2016. "The Mobile Phone in the Diffusion of Knowledge for Institutional Quality in Sub-Saharan Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 133-147.
    5. Inoue, Atsushi & Solon, Gary, 2006. "A Portmanteau Test For Serially Correlated Errors In Fixed Effects Models," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 22(5), pages 835-851, October.
    6. Lars-Hendrik Roller & Leonard Waverman, 2001. "Telecommunications Infrastructure and Economic Development: A Simultaneous Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 909-923, September.
    7. Francesco Caselli & Wilbur John Coleman, 2001. "Cross-Country Technology Diffusion: The Case of Computers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 328-335, May.
    8. Card, David & Krueger, Alan B, 1994. "Minimum Wages and Employment: A Case Study of the Fast-Food Industry in New Jersey and Pennsylvania," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 772-793, September.
    9. Avi Goldfarb & Catherine Tucker, 2019. "Digital Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 57(1), pages 3-43, March.
    10. Freund, Caroline L. & Weinhold, Diana, 2004. "The effect of the Internet on international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 171-189, January.
    11. Bertschek Irene & Briglauer Wolfgang & Hüschelrath Kai & Kauf Benedikt & Niebel Thomas, 2015. "The Economic Impacts of Broadband Internet: A Survey," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 14(4), pages 201-227, December.
    12. Edward J. Malecki, 2002. "The Economic Geography of the Internet’s Infrastructure," Economic Geography, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 78(4), pages 399-424, October.
    13. Mothobi, Onkokame & Grzybowski, Lukasz, 2017. "Infrastructure deficiencies and adoption of mobile money in Sub-Saharan Africa," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 71-79.
    14. Joel Cariolle & Maëlan Le Goff & Olivier Santoni, 2017. "Telecommunications submarine cable vulnerability and local performance of firms in developing and transition countries," Post-Print hal-01569846, HAL.
    15. Howard, Philip N. & Mazaheri, Nimah, 2009. "Telecommunications Reform, Internet Use and Mobile Phone Adoption in the Developing World," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(7), pages 1159-1169, July.
    16. Paunov, Caroline & Rollo, Valentina, 2016. "Has the Internet Fostered Inclusive Innovation in the Developing World?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 587-609.
    17. Athey, Susan & Imbens, Guido W., 2022. "Design-based analysis in Difference-In-Differences settings with staggered adoption," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 226(1), pages 62-79.
    18. Ms. Thornton Matheson & Patrick Petit, 2017. "Taxing Telecommunications in Developing Countries," IMF Working Papers 2017/247, International Monetary Fund.
    19. Mr. Kangni R Kpodar & Mihasonirina Andrianaivo, 2011. "ICT, Financial Inclusion, and Growth: Evidence from African Countries," IMF Working Papers 2011/073, International Monetary Fund.
    20. Katz, Michael L & Shapiro, Carl, 1985. "Network Externalities, Competition, and Compatibility," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 424-440, June.
    21. James Heckman & Hidehiko Ichimura & Jeffrey Smith & Petra Todd, 1998. "Characterizing Selection Bias Using Experimental Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(5), pages 1017-1098, September.
    22. Buys, Piet & Dasgupta, Susmita & Thomas, Timothy S. & Wheeler, David, 2009. "Determinants of a Digital Divide in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Spatial Econometric Analysis of Cell Phone Coverage," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(9), pages 1494-1505, September.
    23. Caroline Paunov & Valentina Rollo, 2015. "Overcoming Obstacles: The Internet's Contribution to Firm Development," The World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 29(suppl_1), pages 192-204.
    24. John C. Driscoll & Aart C. Kraay, 1998. "Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimation With Spatially Dependent Panel Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(4), pages 549-560, November.
    25. Birba, Ousmane & Diagne, Abdoulaye, 2012. "Determinants of adoption of Internet in Africa: Case of 17 sub-Saharan countries," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 463-472.
    26. Jonas Hjort & Jonas Poulsen, 2019. "The Arrival of Fast Internet and Employment in Africa," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 109(3), pages 1032-1079, March.
    27. Bertschek, Irene & Cerquera, Daniel & Klein, Gordon J., 2011. "More bits - more bucks? Measuring the impact of broadband internet on firm performance," ZEW Discussion Papers 11-032, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    28. Wallsten, Scott, 2005. "Regulation and Internet Use in Developing Countries," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 53(2), pages 501-523, January.
    29. Oecd, 2014. "International Cables, Gateways, Backhaul and International Exchange Points," OECD Digital Economy Papers 232, OECD Publishing.
    30. Muto, Megumi, 2009. "The impacts of mobile phone coverage expansion and personal networks on migration: evidence from Uganda," 2009 Conference, August 16-22, 2009, Beijing, China 51898, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    31. Jenny C. Aker & Isaac M. Mbiti, 2010. "Mobile Phones and Economic Development in Africa," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(3), pages 207-232, Summer.
    32. Menzie D. Chinn & Robert W. Fairlie, 2010. "ICT Use in the Developing World: An Analysis of Differences in Computer and Internet Penetration," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 18(1), pages 153-167, February.
    33. Dennis Weller & Bill Woodcock, 2013. "Internet Traffic Exchange: Market Developments and Policy Challenges," OECD Digital Economy Papers 207, OECD Publishing.
    34. Cole, Matthew A. & Elliott, Robert J.R. & Occhiali, Giovanni & Strobl, Eric, 2018. "Power outages and firm performance in Sub-Saharan Africa," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 134(C), pages 150-159.
    35. Muto, Megumi & Yamano, Takashi, 2009. "The Impact of Mobile Phone Coverage Expansion on Market Participation: Panel Data Evidence from Uganda," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(12), pages 1887-1896, December.
    36. Daniel Björkegren, 2019. "The Adoption of Network Goods: Evidence from the Spread of Mobile Phones in Rwanda," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 86(3), pages 1033-1060.
    37. Houngbonon, Georges V. & Le Quentrec, Erwan, 2019. "Access to Electricity and ICT Usage: A Country-level Assessment on Sub-Saharan Africa," 2nd Europe – Middle East – North African Regional ITS Conference, Aswan 2019: Leveraging Technologies For Growth 201728, International Telecommunications Society (ITS).
    38. Cremer, Jacques & Rey, Patrick & Tirole, Jean, 2000. "Connectivity in the Commercial Internet," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(4), pages 433-472, December.
    39. Kangni Kpodar & Mihasonirina Andrianaivo, 2011. "ICT, Financial Inclusion and Growth: Evidence from African Countries," Post-Print halshs-00602411, HAL.
    40. Daniel Hoechle, 2007. "Robust standard errors for panel regressions with cross-sectional dependence," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 7(3), pages 281-312, September.
    41. Joël Cariolle & Maelan Le Goff & Olicier Santoni, 2019. "Digital vulnerability and performance of firms in developing countries," Working papers 709, Banque de France.
    42. Benno J. Ndulu, 2006. "Infrastructure, Regional Integration and Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa: Dealing with the disadvantages of Geography and Sovereign Fragmentation," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 15(2), pages 212-244, December.
    43. Sutherland, Ewan, 2014. "Undersea cables and landing stations around Africa: Policy and regulatory issues," 25th European Regional ITS Conference, Brussels 2014 101381, International Telecommunications Society (ITS).
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Joël Cariolle & Yasmine Elkhateeb & Mathilde Maurel, 2022. "(Mis-)information technology: Internet use and perception of democracy in Africa," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne 22010, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.
    2. Joël Cariolle & David A Carroll, 2022. "The Use of Digital for Public Service Provision in Sub-Saharan Africa," Working Papers hal-03004535, HAL.
    3. Joël Cariolle & Michele Imbruno & Jaime de Melo, 2020. "Bilateral digital connectivity and firm participation in export markets," Working Papers hal-03182438, HAL.
    4. Leal Filho, Walter & Wall, Tony & Rui Mucova, Serafino Afonso & Nagy, Gustavo J. & Balogun, Abdul-Lateef & Luetz, Johannes M. & Ng, Artie W. & Kovaleva, Marina & Safiul Azam, Fardous Mohammad & Alves,, 2022. "Deploying artificial intelligence for climate change adaptation," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 180(C).
    5. Joël Cariolle & David Carroll, 2020. "Advancing digital frontiers in African economies: lessons learned from firm-level innovations," Working Papers hal-03118738, HAL.
    6. Jaime de Melo & Jean-Marc Solleder, 2022. "Patterns and Correlates of Supply Chain Trade in MENA and SSA," Working Papers hal-03649085, HAL.
    7. Lythreatis, Sophie & Singh, Sanjay Kumar & El-Kassar, Abdul-Nasser, 2022. "The digital divide: A review and future research agenda," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 175(C).
    8. Evans, Olaniyi & Mesagan, Ekundayo Peter, 2022. "ICT-trade and pollution in Africa: Do governance and regulation matter?," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 511-531.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Joel Cariolle, 2018. "Telecommunication Submarine-C able Deployment and the Digital Divide in Sub-Saharan Africa [fondation pour les études et recherches sur le développement international Telecommunication Submarine- C," Post-Print hal-01938451, HAL.
    2. Joël Cariolle & David A Carroll, 2022. "The Use of Digital for Public Service Provision in Sub-Saharan Africa," Working Papers hal-03004535, HAL.
    3. Joël Cariolle & David A Carroll, 2020. "Digital Technologies for Small and Medium Enterprises and job creation in Sub-Saharan Africa," Working Papers hal-03004583, HAL.
    4. Joël Cariolle & Maëlan Le Goff, 2021. "Spatial internet spillovers in manufacturing," Working Papers hal-03201735, HAL.
    5. Joël Cariolle & Michele Imbruno & Jaime de Melo, 2020. "Bilateral digital connectivity and firm participation in export markets," Working Papers hal-03182438, HAL.
    6. Jenny Aker & David A Carroll, 2022. "The State of Digital Financial Services in Francophone West Africa," Working Papers hal-03642499, HAL.
    7. Joel Cariolle & Maëlan Le Goff & Olivier Santoni, 2018. "Broadband infrastructure deployment, digital vulnerability, and local firm performance in developing and transition countries," Post-Print hal-01758660, HAL.
    8. Joël Cariolle & Maelan Le Goff & Olicier Santoni, 2019. "Digital vulnerability and performance of firms in developing countries," Working papers 709, Banque de France.
    9. Abdulqadir, Idris A. & Asongu, Simplice A., 2022. "The asymmetric effect of internet access on economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa," Economic Analysis and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 44-61.
    10. Bertschek, Irene & Niebel, Thomas, 2016. "Mobile and more productive? Firm-level evidence on the productivity effects of mobile internet use," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(9), pages 888-898.
    11. Abdulqadir, Idris & Asongu, Simplice, 2021. "The asymmetric effect of internet access on economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa: Insight from a dynamic panel threshold regression," MPRA Paper 109904, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. Joel Cariolle & Maëlan Le Goff & Olivier Santoni, 2017. "Telecommunications submarine cable vulnerability and local performance of firms in developing and transition countries," Post-Print hal-01569846, HAL.
    13. Niebel, Thomas, 2018. "ICT and economic growth – Comparing developing, emerging and developed countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 197-211.
    14. Yu, Binbin, 2022. "The Impact of the Internet on Industrial Green Productivity: Evidence from China," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 177(C).
    15. Thornton Matheson & Patrick Petit, 2021. "Taxing telecommunications in developing countries," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 28(1), pages 248-280, February.
    16. Oughton, Edward J. & Comini, Niccolò & Foster, Vivien & Hall, Jim W., 2022. "Policy choices can help keep 4G and 5G universal broadband affordable," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 176(C).
    17. Aldashev, Alisher & Batkeyev, Birzhan, 2021. "Broadband Infrastructure and Economic Growth in Rural Areas," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 57(C).
    18. Joël Cariolle & Florian Léon, 2022. "How internet helped firms to cope with COVID-19," Working Papers hal-03592617, HAL.
    19. Grégoire Rota-Graziosi & Fayçal Sawadogo, 2020. "The tax burden on mobile network operators in Africa," Working Papers hal-03109370, HAL.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    ICT; submarine cables; digital divide; Sub-Saharan Africa; infrastructure; connectivity;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F02 - International Economics - - General - - - International Economic Order and Integration
    • L96 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Telecommunications
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • O18 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:iepoli:v:55:y:2021:i:c:s0167624520301451. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505549 .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Catherine Liu (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505549 .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.